Regardless of Mark Twain's opinion, Cooper was a good writer with a decent command of the language and considerable knowledge of sea and forest.
This novel starts well but, sadly enough, deteriorates into a utopian tale well-larded with coincidences, and shows the limits of geological knowledge in the early 19th century.
Read the first half but consider well before finishing it.
The amount of dragooning in this volume is on the order of five percent, the balance consisting almost entirely of Irish anecdotes of what would now be considered the stage-Irish. Entertaining and well-enough written, however.
The military portion starts with Arthur Wellesley's taking command in the Peninsula, and should lead to a series of interesting campaign vignettes in the second volume, assuming it can be found.
Not a bad story, albeit with one of those exceedingly fine heroes one can barely stomach. Contains a pretty realistic section on farm life back in the days before power equipment and modern ideas of sanitation. A bit spoiled by an unrealistic ending, and the author makes sure to point out the superiority of Canadian to American life. (Also mentions a few of the more boring bagpipe tunes. Perhaps the author simply had poor musical taste.)
Along the line of stories by Nordhoff & Hall, London and Michener though less literary. A decent read with plenty of tragedy, poignancy and occasional touches of humor, it purports to be reminiscences of Becke as dictated to another.